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Basic Kite Designs - Single, Dual, Quad Line

Today's kites come in thousands of different shapes and sizes. The traditional triangle design once used by Charlie Brown is still being used today, but modern technology now gives us many different designs to choose from including box shaped kites, cylinder shaped kites, Bi-planes, Octopus', parafoils, ships ... you name it and it has probably been designed as a kite and flown. The new variety in kites has made the sport not only relaxing, but very enjoyable to watch. The colours are beautiful and the designs are amazing.

Stunt kites combine modern design with precision control, allowing you to not only launch your kite, but actually control it in virtually any direction you wish.   Complicated manoeuvres are mastered with practice and when done properly, will amaze bystanders and friends. Power kites are impressive in size and takes the sport of kite flying to the very edge of extreme.

Below you will learn what makes each type of kite fit into different categories, how kites are designed, the different components generally found on today's kites, and what makes kites fly.

Single Line Kites

The above pictures are just a few samples of some of the single line kites that are available today. Single line kites come in hundreds of different designs and sizes, ranging from smaller than 1 foot to over 10 feet in size. The design of today's modern kites is better than ever, making flying your kite easy and trouble free. If you have any wind at all, your kite should be able to fly. Setting up a single line kite takes only a few minutes, and some are ready to launch right out of the bag. Tails are not needed any more, but still can be added for that classic look. A simple adjustment on the bridle connection point backwards will allow your kite to fly stable in light winds and moving the connection point forward will make your kite more controllable in heavy winds. Once again, all kites are designed differently.   To make sure you have the proper bridle adjustment, check with the information supplied with your kite.

Single line kites can be single skin (flat) or ram-air design (double layered with an air pocket). Single line kites usually have a multi line bridle that connects the kite to a single line that the kite flyer hangs onto. Single line kites can have a rigid frame or can be soft without any frame. Single line kites are a wonderful inexpensive way to spend an afternoon with your friends or family.

Dual Line Kites

Dual line kites are excellent for someone who is looking to get a little more out of kite flying. With two lines connected to your kite instead of one, you now have the ability to control your kite in virtually any direction you wish. Dual line kites are easy to fly and easy to launch. Landing your dual line kite will usually take a bit of practice at first, but can be mastered pretty quickly. Launching your dual line kite in the air usually only requires a firm tug on the lines and your off. Bridle adjustments are critical and pre-set at the factory. Adjustments are usually only needed in the event of a warn or broken line. Line sets are purchased in pre-set set lengths, not on a large roll that you let out as with single line kites. Dual line kites are designed for either stunt flying for tricks and manoeuvres, or for power/traction flying for buggying, surfing or just to drag you around on the grass. Like single line kites, dual line kites come in many different designs, colours, and sizes.

Dual line kites usually have a multi line bridle that connects to two independent lines that are connected to straps or handles that the flyer uses to control the kite.   Pulling on the left line will cause the kite to turn towards the left or counter clockwise, pulling the right will cause the kite to turn towards the right or clockwise.

Dual line stunt kites are fast, some of them are capable of reaching speeds well over 50 MPH. Dual line power kites can generate extreme amounts of pulling power and can reach sizes larger than an automobile. Caution should always be used when first learning to fly dual line power kites.

Quad Line Kites

Quad or 4 line kites are designed for the ultimate control. The bridle is attached to 4 lines that connect the kite to the flyer, usually connecting to handles or a control bar. Two of the lines are on the right side and the other two are connected to the left side in pairs. Upper lines are connected to the top of the kite, lower lines are connected to the bottom of the kite. The bottom lines are usually referred to as the "brakes" and can be used to slow the kite down or even fly the kite backwards. By rotating the handles back and forth you can get precision turns, extreme speed, and superior control as compared to dual line kites. Rotating the bottom of the handles towards you will usually start the kite flying in reverse, making landing the kite easier than with dual line and single line kites. Spins can be done without dropping the kite in altitude. Quad line stunt kites give you maximum control, any direction, any time (including upside down and reverse). Quad line stunt kites like the "Revolution" series can fly inverted (upside down) and backwards with complete control.

Power or traction kites have the same type of control although usually much slower in responding due to their enormously large sizes, and reverse flight is not possible on some designs but still have the brake feature and are capable of landing. Quad line power kites make up for their decrease in speed and manoeuvrability by generating the greatest amount of power possible, capable of picking up a 250 pound person over 30 feet in the air with very little effort, or pulling a person at speeds over 50 MPH in a buggy or catching extreme air time over 30 feet up and hang times over 30 seconds in length on surfboards and snowboards. Large power kites can be extremely dangerous and should always be flown with the greatest respect and caution